How Much is the Funeral Industry Worth in the UK?

Posted: 20/03/2018

It is well-known today that the funeral industry is extremely lucrative in the UK and beyond, in part due to the constant (and growing) demand for funerals, and to the increased pricing of services on offer. But just how much is the funeral industry worth in the UK today?

A funeral market report made by IBISWorld in December 2017 stated that the United Kingdom’s funeral industry is currently worth a massive £2 billion, with an annual growth that can only be expected to increase in the midst of an ageing population which gives rise to a greater number of deaths per year.

Average Funeral Cost

According to the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017, the average funeral in the UK costs £3,784 (an average cost increase of 3% between 2016 and 2017).

The amount varies significantly between regions, however, and can even be seen to vary significantly locally. The most expensive locations reported in the RLNFCI surveys included Kensal Green (av. £6,516), Enfield (av. £6,141), and Beckenham (av. £5,551). The least expensive locations included Belfast (av. £3,036), Paisley (av. £3,180), and Glasgow West (av. £3, 194).

London was the most costly region in 2017, with the average funeral costing £4,779.

The RLNFCI also calculated that, of the 16% who struggled to pay for a funeral, the average debt that was taken on in order to fund a funeral was £1,680. As such, the report cites an increase in ‘no-frills’ funerals which consist usually of direct cremation rather than a costly ceremony. Part of the reduced cost of this service comes from having cremations performed at less popular times, and families ditching the use of funeral directors.



Where do the Costs Come From?

We know that funerals are increasing in cost year by year, but where are these costs coming from? There are many things to consider when planning a funeral, from the chosen method of disposition to the obtaining of ritualistic items such as candles and flowers, all of which must be accounted for financially.

Funeral Director Fees

The most significant cost involved in funeral planning is that which pays for the services of the funeral director. The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index surveys result found that funeral directors cost £2,254 on average, accounting for over 50% of the overall funeral cost in both cremation and burial services.

Cremation and Burial Costs – Compared

Burial fees are notably more expensive than that of burial fees, the national averages being £1,847 and £755 comparatively. The greatest overall cost increase between 2016 and 2017 was in burial and cremation costs.

Burial fees increased by 5.3% to £3,067 for non-residents and by 3.5% to £1,847 for residents. Between 2016
and 2017, cremation fees increased by 5.4% from £716 to £755.

Other costs that must be accounted for when funeral planning include:

  • Embalming 
  • Transport / funeral fleet
  • Flowers
  • Food and drink
  • Venue fees
  • Funeral conductor
  • Invitations
  • Burial plot
  • Funeral booklets
  • Cremation Urn
  • Casket
  • Burial Vault
  • Gravesite maintenance
  • Graveside services

How to Combat High Costs

Everyone wants to have the means to say goodbye to their loved ones properly, but it is certainly suboptimal to be flung into debt as a result of their funeral. As we have seen, funeral planning involves many costs which all serve to make it an incredibly lucrative service industry. It is also evident that these prices are rising year by year, making funerals less affordable as time goes on.




When investing in a prepaid funeral plan, you are guaranteed a funeral service at today’s prices. This means that you are exempt from having to pay the extortionate fees of the future which are likely to rise as the ageing population only increases. Prepaid funeral plans also give you and your family the security in knowing that the resources are already allocated when the time comes for yours or your loved one’s passing. By investing in a prepaid funeral plan for yourself, you eradicate the risk of debt and financial difficulty being imposed upon your surviving partner and family.

Prepaid funeral plans also enable you to have a hand in the planning of your own funeral; you can decide which expenses are to be made, and which are not. You can get a truly bespoke service, depending on what your chosen provider has to offer, at the most competitive prices.